Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are two terms that are often used interchangeably, however there are vast differences from symptoms to treatment.
What is Dementia?
Dementia refers to a group of symptoms, including impaired thinking and memory. These changes interfere with your daily life and activities, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. They go beyond simply forgetting someone’s name.
It causes you to have problems with at least two of the following:
- Communication and speech
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception (such as seeing things that aren’t there, failing to see the difference in colors or detect movement)
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease isn’t synonymous with dementia. Instead, it’s the most common form of dementia. Other causes of dementia include Huntington’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
If you have Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal protein deposits occur in the brain, and neurons stop functioning. It starts in the hippocampus, and eventually, other parts of the brain are affected, and brain tissue significantly shrinks. As this happens, symptoms such as memory loss get worse over time.
How is Alzheimer’s Diagnosed?
No single test can give a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but your doctor can perform a series of tests to determine disease diagnosis. He or she can perform tests of your attention, memory, language, and vision and look at an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), showing images of your brain.
What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?
Dementia is a set of symptoms that are caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other issues such as Parkinson’s Disease or Lewy body dementia. Each cause or type can trigger different symptoms. For instance, Alzheimer’s involves extreme memory problems, but Lewy body dementia affects how you process information and can also cause tremors or muscle stiffness.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s have some symptoms in common, such as impaired memory and communication. However, Alzheimer’s symptoms can also include depression, confusion, or impaired judgment.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s also differ because Alzheimer’s isn’t reversible, but some other causes of dementia such as thyroid disease and vitamin deficiency can be reversed.
Treatments for dementia caused by something other than Alzheimer’s and dementia that’s caused by Alzheimer’s can sometimes overlap. In some cases, treating the condition that’s causing dementia can help.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease or another cause, contact Boulevard Medical Healthcare to set up an appointment. Our doctors are highly experienced and committed to providing the best care.